Assistant Professor of Psychology Kristina Howansky and collaborators at Rutgers University (Melanie Maimon and Diana Sanchez) recently published "Fostering Inclusivity: Exploring the Impact of Identity Safety Cues and Instructor Gender on Students’ Impressions and Belonging" in the journal Teaching of Psychology. The article was included in its special issue on social justice pedagogy: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Teaching of Psychology.
Identity Safety Cues (ISCs) signal to students with marginalized identities that their identities are valued and respected. In this work, we explored whether positive outcomes of ISCs differed based on the gender identity of the instructor. Students in an introduction to psychology course read a syllabus of a prospective class that either included ISCs or did not. The gender of the professor was also manipulated. Students reported greater expected course engagement and sense of belonging in the field of psychology when the syllabus included ISCs compared to when it did not. Further, students had more positive impressions of the instructor when the syllabus included ISCs compared to the control syllabus. Instructor gender had a minimal impact on participants’ outcomes and impressions. This work demonstrates including ISCs in course syllabi can positively impact students when course instructors are White men or women. In future work, we hope to explore more diverse gender and racial identities.
Teaching of Psychology articles are available for the SMCM community to access through the Hilda C. Landers Library.